June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Design in Engineering Education
24.1004.1 - 24.1004.11
A Course in Interactive Device DesignPress Play: Interactive Device Design is a three-year-old freshman-level course at Stanford thatexplores the human-centered and technical workings behind interactive devices ranging from cellphones and video controllers to household appliances and smart cars. Students build a workingMP3 player prototype of their own design using embedded microcontrollers, digital audiodecoders, component sensors and other electronic hardware. Topics include electronicsprototyping, interface prototyping, sensors and actuators, microcontroller development,multimodal displays, physical prototyping, user needs and usability testing.The course is intended as a deep-dive introduction to electrical engineering through the vehicleof interactive device design. We hope to engage students having a general familiarity with theproducts of electrical engineering with the underlying tools and technologies that make suchproducts possible. By focusing the class project on the design of a digital music player, we aim toattract a broad demographic, and to illustrate how human-centered design considerations can tobe integrated into the system design process.Lectures alternatively focus on design methods and practical technical topics. The first half of thecourse is more practically focused, while the second half introduces topics such as short-runprinted circuit board manufacture and enclosure design, and includes guest lectures from localconsumer electronics company founders to help students to contextualize how what they arelearning is used in industry and beyond.As the course is oriented toward students entering engineering, it is often their first experience inmanaging a design project of their own devising. As such, it is also their first experience settinginitial goals, moving these goals as they become experts at their problem domain, handlingsetbacks, and pacing themselves for a final push to complete, document and present a project at apublic event. It can take some convincing for students to realize that they—rather than theinstructors—are the final authority on setting and moving goals or pacing themselves. Due to thislatitude, students are assessed not so much on their point grades on labs and homeworkassignments, but on the depth and clarity of thought in their project motivation, how well theirsolution addresses initial needs, how well they allocated their time and resources, and theirability to communicate—even to teach—their newfound knowledge to others.We hope that this course description—which encompasses motivation, implementation andassessment—provides insights and inspiration for those looking to teach similar courses.
Sirkin, D., & Ju, W. G. (2014, June), Press Play: A Course in Interactive Device Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22937
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